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author's PREFACE. 




STYLE .... 







In all probability I am better known in the world 
of sport as a veteran judo devotee, holding the 4th 
Dan in that art, and a life member of both the 
famous Kodokan of Tokyo and the Budokwai of 
London, than as a wrestler in the European styles. 
Nevertheless, had I not felt personally confident of 
my qualifications for the commission assigned to 
me by my publishers I should never have con- 
sented to accept it. I hope, therefore, that the 
contents of this little book may be left to speak for 
themselves and that they will satisfy my prospective 
readers of my competence to write about such 
branches of wrestling as Catch-as-Catch-Can and 
Graeco-Roman, more particularly. 

A native of Lancashire, I took to wrestling at an 
early age as naturally as a duck to water. After 
emigrating in my teens to British Columbia and 
while there earning my livelihood as a youthful 
journalist, I joined the miners' athletic club at 
Nanaimo on Vancouver Island where, almost every 
evening, I practised Catch-as-Catch-Can under one 
Jack Stewart, a wonderful little lightweight, the 
favourite pupil of the then quite celebrated Dan 
McLeod. McLeod was a native of Nova Scotia but 
known professionally as the "Californian Won- 
der". There I gained considerable proficiency as 
an amateur lightweight (about 11 stone). 


My introduction to the Japanese art of ju-jutsu, 
and later to judo, ensued after I went to Japan from 
San Francisco. Although, of course, ju-jutsu and 
judo are not Catch-as-Catch-Can, yet considering 
the influence which both these arts have since 
exerted upon the All-in style I think I am entitled 
to say that my early knowledge of both the older 
ju-jutsu and the more modern judo has appreciably 
helped me to grasp the rationale, so to speak, of 
the All-in technique. Then, during the time I spent 
in Russia as assistant Times correspondent under 
the late Robert Wilton, that paper's correspondent 
in Petrograd during the first years of the 19 14-18 
war, I devoted much of my leisure to the assiduous 
practice of the Graeco-Roman, otherwise known 
as the French style of wrestling. I was a member of 
the then well-known "Sanitas" Athletic Club of 
Petrograd, under the skilled tutelage of no less an 
ace than Karl Pojello, the famous Lithuanian ex- 
ponent of the All-in style and, at that time, when 
Lithuania was under Russian rule, amateur middle- 
weight champion of Russia in the Graeco-Roman 
style. Pojello was then a private in the Russian 
army but while stationed in the capital was allowed 
to attend the Sanitas Club for wrestling practice. 
This earlier association explains why more than 
once in these pages I refer to Pojello's favourite 
methods. Pojello later succeeded in emigrating to 
the United States and settled in Chicago where, I 
deeply regret to state, he passed away when hardly 
more than sixty, from cancer. His death came as a 

author's preface 

great blow to me personally and, at the time, was 
sincerely and widely mourned by all mat-men. In 
his prime he was a magnificent physical specimen 
of manhood and, during a short visit to this country 
and then scaling about 14 stone stripped, he 
defeated all comers on the mat. In this connexion 
it is interesting to note that Pojello himself ad- 
mitted that he owed no little of his skill in All-in 
wrestling to the knowledge of judo which he had 
acquired from a Japanese teacher in Shanghai after 
his escape from Russia through Siberia. 

It is not intended that the present little work can 
be exhaustive or that it will enable the student to 
dispense with practical tuition. No textbook on 
any subject can do that and least of all perhaps a 
work on such a highly technical branch of athletics 
as wrestling. Indeed a book many times the size of 
the present volume could be compiled without say- 
ing the last word on the noble and manly palestric 
art and without obviating the necessity for practical 
training under a qualified instructor. Undoubtedly, 
however, a good textbook can serve as a very useful 
auxiliary. From my own experience of both catch 
wrestling and judo I do not hesitate to say that a 
thorough grounding and proficiency in com- 
paratively few methods are preferable to a super- 
ficial knowledge of many tricks. If, then, in 
conjunction with a properly qualified instructor, 
the ambitious tyro studies the carefully selected 
methods described in the following pages, he will 
eventually realize that he has become no mean 


exponent of the art and that he has laid a firm 
foundation upon which to build a superstructure 
of more extended ability. 

My thanks are specially due to Mr. W. Wood, 
better known in his heyday as "Billy" Wood, one- 
time welter-weight champion of the world, and to 
Mr. Charles Law, for their highly impressive 
demonstration of eight wrestling falls and holds 
reproduced in these pages as half-tone plates. 

E. J. Harrison. 

Chapter I 


Wrestling in its more primitive forms is probably 
the most ancient of all physical exercises in which 
one human being pits himself against another for 
the mastery, without the use of lethal weapons. In 
purely friendly contest the use of the hand or fist 
for slapping or striking has not usually been per- 
mitted in generally recognized styles of the art, 
until the advent of the so-called :; All-in" system, 
for which reason it has proved itself to be a more 
healthful exercise and one capable of being prac- 
tised far longer than boxing. 

True, wrestling in any of its various forms may 
cause its votaries an occasional dislocation or mus- 
cular strain, but, in contradistinction to professional 
boxing, it is rarely that anything more serious than 
a superficial injury is inflicted. A comparison 
between the respective maximum ages at which 
boxing and wrestling can be practised professionally 
is all in favour of the latter. Thus Poddubny, the 
famous Cossack wrestler in the French or, as it is 
also called, the Graeco-Roman style, w r as winning 
international victories up to his sixty-fifth year. 
The former English champions, George Steadman 
and George Louden, were still active in their 
fifties. A former world champion, George Hacken- 



schmidt, retired on his laurels and a decent com- 
petence before he reached that age, but even at the 
age of seventy was still amazingly strong and agile, 
and fully capable, were he so minded, of again 
taking the mat against most men of his weight. If, 
too, the Japanese art of judo be included among 
branches of wrestling, we have the classic instance 
of the famous founder of the celebrated Kodokan 
of Tokyo, Dr. Jigoro Kano who, at the age of 
seventy-four or thereabouts, was hale and hearty, 
as active as a cat, and still able to give a prolonged 
physical demonstration of his art without turning 
a hair. 

Undoubtedly, like any other intensive sport, 
wrestling of whatever school makes severe demands 
upon the strength and endurance of its followers, 
and possession of an absolutely strong heart is 
indispensable to the wrestler. There are not indeed 
wanting critics who assert that wrestling is re- 
sponsible in many cases for enlargement of the 
heart and premature death. It is, however, very 
doubtful whether such an assertion could be satis- 
factorily proved, although if indulged in to excess 
wrestling, like any other athletic exercise, may 
become injurious to health. Moreover, it would 
probably be found on careful investigation that 
some comparatively early deaths among wrestlers 
have been due less to their profession than to over- 
indulgence in alcohol or addiction to other vices. 

There is, however, one conclusion to which I 
myself have been forced as the result of sustained 


personal observation, experience, and hearsay, 
viz., that it is not advisable for the wrestler, who 
has devoted long years to the practice of his art, 
to desist suddenly and retire to a sedentary mode of 
life. An abrupt transition of this kind can be only 
harmful to the subject, and may easily precipitate 
physical deterioration and premature death. The 
Japanese are quite convinced of this in the case of 
judo, so that the professional teacher of the art in 
Japan, if well advised, will never suddenly abandon 
practice, but instead will do so gradually, by gentle 
degrees, until his system has had time to become 
attuned to less strenuous habits. The reason for this 
is not far to seek. All exercise is a form of stimulus, 
the sudden removal of which may entail some 
organic or nervous disturbance. Wrestling, per- 
taining as it does to the more intensive forms of 
physical exercise, cannot be instantly renounced 
without risk of similar consequences. 

The unathletic type of person, on reading these 
lines, may be moved to ask: Why, then, go to the 
trouble of contracting a habit which cannot later 
be abandoned without danger? And he may 
further and justly assert that such violent forms 
of sport are in no way essential to health, and that 
sedentary individuals can show a record of longevity 
quite as good as, if not better than that of the 
professional or amateur athlete. One is forced to 
admit the truth of this contention, but its truth 
does not impress me as an argument in favour of a 
sedentary life. It is surely not conducive to culti- 


vation of a manly and an aggressive spirit, without 
which the young man of to-day, more perhaps than 
his predecessors, is likely to be badly handicapped 
in the severe struggle for existence. At any rate, it 
must always seem to every athlete that the man 
who has never experienced the thrill of physical 
emulation in some form of sport, whether in the 
football or cricket field, in the swimming pool, or 
on the mat, has not savoured the true spice of 
living; and even though it might be proved that 
devotion to one or other of these forms of sport 
must tend to shorten one's span on earth, one 
would still be tempted to retort, "A shorter life, 
but a merrier one " — which is perhaps only 
another way of saying that one would rather wear 
out than rust out. 

It will be clear from what has been said that it 
would be far more dangerous for a sedentary man 
of mature years to adopt a physically strenuous 
mode of recreation than for the seasoned athlete 
in general and the wrestler in particular to renounce 
all exercise. The sedentary middle-aged man is 
more deeply and irrevocably committed to slothful 
ways than the veteran sportsman to sport, and 
the risk of heart failure is generally greater in the 
former than in the latter case, should any abrupt 
and violent change be attempted. That sedentary 
habits are not incompatible with longevity is there- 
fore undoubtedly true so long as the subject refrains 
from undertaking sudden physical effort; but all 
the same, longevity which goes with an over- 


developed paunch, an under-developed chest, and 
flabby muscles is not the particular type of long- 
evity that will commend itself to the "he-man". 

Another strong point in favour of wrestling as a 
beneficial branch of athletics is that it cultivates an 
all-round physique in which no one set of muscles 
or part of the body is developed at the expense of 
another. Thus, whereas some forms of sport, such 
as football, tennis, fencing, rowing, and even box- 
ing, tend to expand, say, leg muscles more than arm 
muscles, one arm more than the other, the forearm 
muscles more than the biceps and triceps, and so 
on, wrestling, if practised in its various phases, does 
not suffer from these drawbacks but makes a more 
evenly distributed demand upon the energies of 
the body as a whole. It is true that the Catch-as- 
Catch-Can and Grae co-Roman wrestler can 
generally be detected by his splendidly developed 
neck, but this feature would be described as a 
defect only by those that can find something to 
admire in the scrawny throats of far too many 
young Englishmen who otherwise might claim to 
possess reasonably good physiques. Furthermore, 
the wrestler's muscular neck is usually in keeping 
with a correspondingly muscular torso and legs 
which are equally necessary items of his physical 
equipment for his chosen profession. 

Chapter II 


It would be an ardous and perhaps almost 
impossible task to enumerate all the forms of 
the art of wrestling which from time immemorial 
have gradually grown up in different parts of the 
world, and I do not therefore propose to embark 
upon any such hopeless undertaking in these 
pages. There can indeed be very few countries 
whose active menfolk have not for centuries in- 
dulged in some form of wrestling, and doubtless 
if all such forms could be closely scrutinized, they 
would be found to bear a family resemblance to 
one another. Naturally in the earlier stages of the 
art, wherever practised, a match would tend to be 
far more a test of brute strength than of skill and 
finesse, and victory as a rule would declare itself 
on the side of the heavier and more powerful 
adversary. Then gradually as communities pro- 
gressed in intellectual and material well-being, 
but not to the point of decadence, specialization 
manifested itself in sport and athletics as in most 
other human activities, and the part played by 
superior skill as the decisive factor in, inter alia y 
wrestling matches, became steadily more marked. 
None the less, it is surely a noteworthy fact that 
there is still only one school of wrestling, if it may 


THE- HANK: Wood/the assailant, is applying this useful "chip" with his 
right against Law's left leg, his right arm encircling Luw*s left shoulder and 
back as far as the right arm-pit. and his left hand gripping Law's raised 
right wrist. 

An effective standing arm-lock, describsdjn the text, the only difference 
being that Wood, the assailant, hasjhere applied the lock against (.aw'srig/ir 
arm, whereas in the text the victim's /eft arm is attacked. The principle 
remains the same. 


be so styled, in which the factor of weight, for 
example, is wholly ignored when contests are being 
arranged, and in which the weights may be in- 
discriminately mixed in pitting one opponent 
against another. I refer, of course, to the Japanese 
art of judo, in which a lightweight frequently 
defeats a far heavier adversary through superior 
skill. Although it would be entirely unjust to say 
or imply that skill is not an all-important factor 
in every branch of wrestling, and that certain 
variations of weight are not permissible in pro- 
fessional wrestling contests, I do not think it can 
be successfully contended that the degree in which 
such discrepancies are seen in judo matches has 
so far been reached in any other branch of wrest- 
ling. Alike, therefore, in the Cumberland and 
Westmorland, Graeco-Roman, Catch-as-Catch- 
Can, All-in, or even the Japanese sumo styles of 
the art, lightweights do not usually contend 
against heavyweights. There is thus a tacit ad- 
mission that, other things equal, the heavier and 
stronger man enjoys an advantage over the lighter 
and weaker one. 

The foregoing paragraphs already enumerate the 
better-known styles of the art, viz., Catch-as-Catch- 
Can or the Lancashire school; Cumberland and 
Westmorland ; French or Graeco-Roman (although 
it may be doubted whether a reincarnated gladiator 
of the age of Nero would be able to discover in 
the repertoire of the last-named many of the 
"chips" or trips with which he had been familiar) ; 


All-in; Japanese sumo and judo. Seeing, however, 
that to the art of judo a separate volume of this 
useful series has alreadv been devoted. I shall do 
no more than make incidental mention of it in 
these pages, when reference to it may help to 
illustrate or supplement descriptions of other 

A few words may perhaps be devoted to the 
Japanese sumo style practised by the professional 
heavyweight wrestlers, veritable mountains of fat 
and muscle, weighing anything up to twenty stone 
and over. In this style of wrestling you may defeat 
your opponent merely by pushing or carrying him 
out of the ring, for which reason weight and 
abdominal development are deemed important. 
On the other hand, the style also comprises as many 
as forty-eight different throws, some of them 
similar to our own Cumberland and Westmorland, 
although freedom of arm grip is permitted. If one 
of the contestants touches the ground with his 
knee he is declared the loser of that bout. In spite 
of their huge bulk, these men are amazingly active 
and supple. They can easily do the "split", and 
raise their tremendous thighs almost to the level 
of their shoulders. Many years ago, at the pic- 
turesque Japanese mountain resort of Miyano- 
shita, I was an amused spectator of an incident in 
which Taiho, then a sumo champion, and a giant 
some six feet six or seven in height, and over 
twenty stone in weight, allowed an enterprising 
young American to take a running kick at his 


stomach, when with a mighty heave Taiho caused 
his assailant to rebound and shoot through the 
air on to his back. The sumo system of training 
includes the hardening of their naturally powerful 
limbs by much beating and by butting at wooden 
posts with their shoulders. Their diet is also 
stronger than that of the ordinary Japanese, and 
they eat enormous quantities. 

In weighing the relative and respective merits of 
these several schools or styles of wrestling, in order 
to make a choice in favour of one particular school 
or style against another, I imagine that the tyro 
will naturally take into consideration not only the 
factor of health but also of utility. What style 
offers the maximum advantages when viewed from 
these standpoints? There are not wanting, of 
course, authorities who extol the first-down-to-lose 
principle above all others, and who decry both 
the Graeco-Roman and Catch-as-Catch-Can styles, 
not to mention All-in, because they include 
"ground-work" as a highly important branch of 
their repertoires. I should not be writing this 
book if I shared those opinions. Admitting that 
virtually all styles of wrestling save judo are 
governed by rules and conventions which detract 
from their efficacy as methods of offence and 
attack, I am satisfied from practical experience 
and observation that Catch-as-Catch-Can, for 
example, offers considerably greater scope for use 
in a real rough and tumble, comprising as it does 
both ground-work and falls from the standing 


position, than the Cumberland and Westmorland 
school, which restricts the contestants to one 
method of holding, and therefore inevitably narrows 
the field of action and the repertoire of tricks. Re- 
garded, too, even as exercises for physical develop- 
ment, there is more to be said for Catch-as- Catch- 
Can, with its wonderful action on the neck muscles, 
than for Cumberland and Westmorland, which 
makes relatively less demand upon that area of the 
body. Incidentally the stronger neck of the Catch- 
as-Catch-Can wrestler would serve him in better 
stead in a real rough and tumble, when not in- 
frequently the real trouble begins to brew as soon 
as the parties are on the ground. In such cases, 
it is "All-in" with a vengeance, and one's know- 
ledge of, and ability to apply an effective strangle- 
hold might easily make all the difference between 
victory and defeat. And whereas in a Catch-as- 
Catch-Can, or Graeco-Roman match the contestant 
whose two shoulders are first pinned to the mat is 
declared the loser, in a real struggle for mastery 
recourse to far more drastic methods would be 
necessary to gain a decision over one's opponent. 
I do not deny that the student of wrestling can 
learn something useful from almost every style 
extant, and that the spirit of eclecticism is to be 
encouraged in this as in every other form of sport; 
but it will surely be obvious that for practical 
purposes a system, such as Cumberland and 
Westmorland, which restricts the arms virtually to 
one position, and in which, if either party breaks 


hold, i.e. loses his grip, even though he may still 
be on his feet, he is declared the loser, cannot 
successfully challenge comparison with Catch-as- 
Catch-Can, not to mention judo, in which the 
most effective use is made of arms and hands as 
an auxiliary to one's legs, in upsetting the other 
fellow's equilibrium or in forcing his shoulders to 
the mat. 

Before beginning the most difficult portion of 
my task, i.e. the attempt to describe in a highly 
condensed form the more effective and useful 
"chips" of the several systems enumerated, I shall 
offer a few general remarks on the subject of 
training for the fray, whether as amateur or 

There is, of course, nothing to beat wrestling 
itself as a means of training for the preservation 
and development of strength and agility indis- 
pensable to success on the mat. Whatever the 
style chosen, it will most effectively influence all 
the muscular groups, impart flexibility to the body 
and, above all, give the heart and lungs the neces- 
sary powers of endurance. In addition to training 
on the mat itself, however, the student can usefully 
practise some other auxiliary forms of exercise 
designed to expand and develop the muscular 
groups most frequently called into action by his 
art. In the case of Catch-as-Catch-Can, in which 
we are more particularly interested, the student 
cannot hope to make much headway without 
possession of a strong neck and strong hands. 


Without a strong neck, he will not be able to make 
proper use of the so-called "bridge", i.e. the posi- 
tion in which the wrestler raises his shoulders off 
the ground by arching his back, with the crown of 
the head and soles of the feet as sole support at 
either end, in order to avert defeat at critical 
moments; while without powerful hands and 
wrists, he will find himself severely handicapped 
in ground-work, more especially, when trying to 
apply the various nelson holds (Fig. i). For both 
these branches of muscular development ordinary 
dumb-bells and bar-bells may be used to advan- 
tage. When practising the bridge, for example, the 
student should hold out the bar-bell at arm's 
length behind his head; then raise and lower it 
slowly at regular intervals, endeavouring at the 
same time to arch the back to the utmost extent, 
and to bend the head and neck as far as possible. 
A really supple young wrestler can thus bend back 
so far as almost to touch the mat with his nose and 
mouth. Another favourite method among Russian 
Graeco-Roman wres tiers of my acquaintance, when 
I myself practised that art at the then Petrograd 
"Sanitas" Club during the 19 14-18 war, was to 
get a comrade to sit astride of one's chest as one 
formed the bridge, and then slowly to lower and 
raise the torso with this super-imposed weight, 
without, however, allowing the shoulders to touch 
the mat. Many of these young bloods had in this 
way attained a degree of suppleness which placed 
them almost in the contortionist class; they could 



indeed bend and arch the back to such an extent 
that head and heels almost met, and from that 
position they could easily rise to their feet again. 

For development of strength of wrist, a quite 
simple but none the less effective expedient is as 

Fig. 1 

follows: Take an ordinary table napkin or small 
towel and twist it between the hands. When you 
have twisted it apparently so far that further 
twisting would seem impossible, continue none the 
less to twist it with the maximum exertion of 
strength. A second exercise recommended by a 
well-known German Graeco-Roman wrestler,whose 


name I cannot at the moment recall, is the follow- 
ing: To a cylindrical rod is attached a cord about 
three feet in length at the end of which is a weight 
of about twenty-five pounds avoirdupois ; holding 
the rod at approximately the height of the lower 
part of the chest- bone, you should try to wind the 
weight round the rod by swinging it steadily. 

Opinions appear to differ on the advisability of 
weight-lifting as a branch of training for the mat; 
on the whole, it may be fair to say that if not 
overdone, and when practised intelligently, under 
expert direction, weight-lifting can be beneficial, 
and need not be detrimental to speed. 

For the wrestler in training, running and walking 
in the open air should never be omitted. Their 
salutary effect on the entire organism, and especi- 
ally the lungs, cannot be overrated. 

For any wrestler or athlete desirous of keeping 
fit, the efficacy and tonic properties of cold water 
cannot be too highly extolled. I am not an advo- 
cate of the cold bath, into which one must step 
feet first; instead I should advise the regular 
matutinal cold shower in an empty bath over the 
bottom of which a jug of hot water has been poured 
to lessen the shock to the lower limbs, more par- 
ticularly on chilly winter mornings. Needless to 
say, after working on the mat, a hot and cold 
douche should never be omitted. Once this whole- 
some and invigorating habit has been contracted, 
it will rarely be abandoned for the rest of one's life. 
Swimming is another useful aid to training, but 


should not be overdone. I recall that many 
Japanese judo teachers of my day did not recom- 
mend swimming as a concurrent form of sport; 
the idea seemed to be that too frequent immersion 
of the entire body in water for prolonged periods 
tended to soften its texture and unfit it for the 
more exacting and strenuous task of maintaining 
one's equilibrium in a totally different element. 
Massage after wrestling is, of course, highly bene- 
ficial and agreeable. Care should alwavs be taken 
that all premises in which training is carried on 
are adequately ventilated and equipped with the 
bathing facilities described. 



EL ?:^1 TLC.S 


Chapter III 



Most styles of wrestling can be practised on the 
greensward, but where and when this is not avail- 
able, a well-padded mat is necessary in order to 
preserve the contestants from injury when violently 
thrown, and when spinning and in the bridge. 
Rubber-soled laced -up pumps on the feet, to pre- 
vent slipping, and a pair of so-called jock-straps 
for the protection of the more vulnerable parts of 
the body are the only outfit actually needed, unless 
the pupil desires more covering, for reasons of 
vanity or susceptibility to cold, since in this style 
of wrestling no hold on clothing is allowed. 

The bridge and spin hold almost the same rela- 
tion to the Gatch-as-Catch-Can and also Graeco- 
Roman style of wrestling as does the "breakfall" 
to judo. A description of the former has been given 
in the preceding chapter. The spin can often be 
advantageously utilized as a means of escape from 
a nelson and crutch hold. It is effected by, so to 
speak, kicking off with the legs until one is standing 
almost on one's head; in this position one makes 
a turn or half-turn so that one rolls over the back 


G AT C H - AS - G AT C H - G AN 27 

of one's opponent. On the other hand, if the 
assailant is quick enough, he can sometimes frus- 
trate the spin by seizing the performer by the upper 
part of his body or by his left arm during its execu- 
tion, in order to bring him down on both shoulders. 

Like the bridge, the spin can be practised alone 
upon a surface that is not too hard. From a prone 
position, face downwards, using feet and arms as 
levers, the pupil should raise himself with a swift 
motion on to his head and twist both head and body 
sharply to the right, letting himself down in a 
kneeling posture. As it is appreciably more difficult 
to spin "on one's own" than with an opponent's 
body to roll over, once the pupil has succeeded in 
spinning solo, it will be a comparatively simple 
matter to spin in combination with an opponent. 

Divisions of Catch- as-Catch-C an : This style of 
wrestling can be divided into two main branches, 
i.e. standing holds and throws, and ground-work. 
In the following pages I shall do my best to describe 
a series of carefully selected holds and throws 
under both these heads. 

Tching-Hold: The term Catch-as-Catch-Can im- 
plies that the contestants are free to implement the 
struggle in any manner they choose. That is, of 
course, true in theory, but in practice the opening 
of a match tends to become stereotyped with 
the method of taking hold illustrated in Fig. 2. 
Here the left hand generally grips the back of the 
other man's neck, while the right may rest on his 
left shoulder or somewhere in the region of 



he under upper arm, slightly above the elbow. 
The Cross-Buttock : This is a very good starting- 
point for the tyro's training on the mat. Like 

Fig. 2 

nearly every other wrestling throw it can be 
effected from either right or left side. As far as the 
leg movement is concerned, it does not materially 
differ from the well-known Cumberland and 
Westmorland "chip". The arm-hold, however, 
is different. Moreover, seeing that in Catch-as- 
Catch-Can style your object is to force your 
antagonist's shoulders to the mat, it is not usually 


sufficient merely to throw him from the standing 
position, which rarely achieves the desired aim; 
a good plan is to fall with and upon him, so that 
he has no opportunity to bridge. If you plan to 
cross-buttock your man with your left leg, you 
may hold him round the neck or high up round 
the waist with your left arm, while with your right 
hand you grip your opponent's left arm slightly 
above the elbow. Now turn your left side to your 
opponent, and cross both his legs with your left 
leg, and with the combined power of your loins, 
hips, and arms twist him forward and hurl him 
to the mat, simultaneously falling heavily on top 
of him (Fig. 3). The manoeuvre may not always 
succeed, in which case you are likely to find your- 
self involved in a struggle on the mat, with which 
branch of the art I shall deal later. As mentioned 
above, the cross-buttock can also be applied from 
the right, when the movements are simply re- 
versed ; you encircle your antagonist's neck or waist 
with your right arm, and secure his right arm with 
your left; you then cross both his legs with your 
right leg, and proceed as in the former instance. 
There are, of course, and naturally, variants of 
this particular throw, according to individual 
fancy. Thus, say you are effecting it with the right 
leg, and you have pulled your antagonist well 
forward, you can often exert more powerful 
leverage with hips and loins by keeping your 
right foot inside his right foot and more or less 
parallel to the latter and with the toes pointing in 



the same direction, as in analogous judo koshiwaza 
or loin tricks. There is always room for the play of 
individuality in this as in every other art, and it is 



often a mistaken policy to lay down hard and fast 
rules for every hold and throw. 

The Hank: Another "chip" found also in the 
repertoire of Cumberland and Westmorland style. 

C AT C H - A S - C AT C H- C A N 31 

A convenient opening for recourse thereto may 
be afforded if you have failed to bring off a cross- 
buttock, say, with your right leg, when your right 
arm will usually be over your adversary's left 
shoulder. The hank in such case consists of a click 
applied to your victim's left leg with your right 
leg; in other words, you hook it from the inside 
below the calf, then jerk it suddenly and strongly 
forward in such a way as to "break" his balance 
in a backward direction, so that he falls with you 
on top of him. Your object again, as in the case of 
the cross-buttock, is to prevent his bridging for 
safety. Success or failure of the manoeuvre naturally 
depends upon the degree of your antagonist's skill. 
He may, of course, contrive to fall without touching 
the mat with both shoulders, when as a rule 
ground-work will ensue. The hank with the left 
leg is a simple reversal of the foregoing movements. 
You are then encircling your adversary's neck with 
your left arm; and you click his right leg from the 
inside with your left. 

The Back-Heel : The more orthodox form of this 
chip is a click to the outside of your adversary's 
slightly advanced leg with your opposite leg, i.e. 
your left against his right, or vice versa ; but to the 
Catch-as-Catch-Can or All-in wrestler, with some 
experience of judo, say a mat-man of the calibre 
of the famous Lithuanian champion, Karl Pojello, 
several useful variants of the foregoing form will 
suggest themselves. In the case, for example, of a 
back-heel with your right against your adversary's 



right leg (Fig. 4), it is by no means essential that 
your attack should be directed against his ad- 
vanced leg; it may be equally or even more effec- 
tive if directed against his retreating leg. If you 

Fig. 4 

feel that he is about to rest his weight upon his 
retreating right leg, for example, with your left 





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hand grasping his right arm somewhat above the 
elbow, and your right palm pressed against his 
left collar-bone, you may be able to hook the back 
of his right with your right leg, and break his 
balance backwards, thus hurling him heavily to 
the mat. Another useful variant of the back-heel 
with your opposite foot, i.e. your left against his 
right or vice versa, can sometimes be successfully 
applied when your opponent slightly advances, 
say, his right foot; if at that moment you can 
contrive suddenly to raise his left arm with your 
right from beneath his elbow, draw forward and 
slightly downwards his right arm pinioned with 
your left, and click his right foot from behind with 
your left foot, held scythe-wise, you may succeed 
in throwing him violently backwards to the mat. 
Once your antagonist loses his balance, it is almost 
impossible for him to counter successfully. The 
back-heel is yet another trip used in the Cumber- 
land and Westmorland style, but with this differ- 
ence that the arms, owing to the limitations of the 
hold in that style, are of far less service than in 
the Catch-as-Catch-Can style of the art, as above 
described. The back-heel belongs to the category 
of instinctive or natural throws, which almost 
every healthy human boy must have practised, 
consciously or unconsciously, at one time or other. 
Flying- M are : The more usual form of this 
throw, which is seen also in the Graeco-Roman 
style, is to grasp your opponent's right arm at the 
elbow with your left hand or trap his forearm 



under your left arm-pit; then pivot round with your 
back turned to him in such wise that your right 
shoulder comes under his right shoulder. Then 
with your right hand you seize from outside the 

Fig. ^ 

upper part of his right arm, and by leaning forward 
with knees slightly bent drag your antagonist 
against your buttocks, and from that position hurl 
him over your right shoulder, bow-wise, so that 


he falls upon his back (Fig. 5). The flying-mare 
hears a strong family resemblance to the judo 
seoinage, or "Shoulder Throw", albeit owing to 
the rules governing Catch-as-Catch-Can and the 
absence of clothing, fewer variations of the throw 
are possible in the latter style, than in judo. It is 
rarely that the flying-mare succeeds against an 
experienced antagonist. It can most readily be 
frustrated by side-slipping, so to speak, and step- 
ping round his right leg, thus preventing him from 
drawing you on to his buttocks. 

The Head-Throw: This belongs to the same 
category as the flying-mare. Pivot round suddenly 
with your back to your adversary. Grip the back 
of his neck with both hands in such wise as to press 
his head against either shoulder. Then insert one 
of your legs between both his legs, fall upon one 
knee, and by bending suddenly forward contrive to 
hurl him over your shoulder to the mat in front 
(Fig. 6). If he is able to anticipate this move, it 
should not be difficult to baulk it by thrusting off 
your encircling arms with his palms. Even if thrown 
over your shoulder, he may manage to bridge and 
so avert disaster. The Head-throw is rarelv 
attempted in actual contest. 

Head Lift and Crutch-Hold: This throw is largely 
reminiscent of what in judo is known as kata- 
guruma or shoulder wheel. The most opportune 
moment for the application of this trick is therefore 
when your adversary's posture has been broken 
towards, say, his right front corner, either inad- 


vertently or in obedience to a pull on his right 
arm with your left. Just as your opponent is in the 
act of bending forward, you should advance your 
right foot a little and at the same time lower your 

Fig. 6 

loins, thrust your right hand between his thighs 
and press the upper part of his right thigh. Your 
left hand has meanwhile retained its grip of his 
right arm which you raise from the wrist as though 



about to lift him ; you then thrust your head under 
his right arm-pit, and with the combined strength 
of your neck and the arm which is gripping his 
right thigh, you raise yourself until you have got 

Fig. 7 

your victim entirely upon your shoulders (Fig. 7) . 
From this point of vantage you can easily deposit 
him on his back just in front of you by means of a 
pull with your left hand and a push with your 


right, while simultaneously you bend slightly 

In virtually all the standing throws herein 
described, it should be understood that it is always 
advisable to fall with and on top of yo :r victim in 
order to break down his bridge, if both shoulders 
do not touch the mat when he is first thrown. 

Rear-Throw: This rather spectacular throw is 
almost identical with the Graeco-Roman "ceinture 
de derritre\ The more customary method of making 
an opening for this throw is to grasp your adver- 
sary's left wrist with your right hand, and encircle 
his left arm above the elbow with your left and 
from this point drag him strongly towards yourself 
so that he is forced to turn his back (Fig. 8) . Then 
you pass your right hand and arm round his body 
from the right side, and link your right with your 
left hand over the abdominal region, and lift him 
from the ground. If this manoeuvre succeeds, you 
relinquish the hold with your right hand, and with 
the latter apply a half-nelson to your victim's neck 
on that side. This is followed by a turn with your 
right foot, while your left foot retreats a pace. Your 
left arm is then withdrawn from your victim's left 
hip, while with the force of your half-nelson and 
the leverage of your right hip you dash him to the 
mat, letting yourself fall simultaneously (Figs. 9 
and 10). Your antagonist's left shoulder-blade 
should at once touch the mat; if his right does not 
follow suit, you should endeavour to complete the 
good work by means of the half-nelson. Other 



opportunities for employment of the rear-throw 
are afforded whenever your opponent turns his 
back on you, provided your hands are free. A 

Fig. 8 

useful counter to an attempt to apply it is to pin 
your opponent's arms tightly to your sides in order 
to prevent employment of the half-nelson. 

"Souplesse" or "Ceinture en souplesse" : This is one 
of the most difficult, dynamic, and sensational 



throws in the entire repertoire of both the Catch- 
as-Catch-Can and Graeco-Roman styles of wrest- 
ling. It will be remembered as the Lithuanian 
Karl Pojello's tour de force in many a hard-fought 

Fig. 9 

bout. It can be executed from both the rear and 
front of your opponent, with this difference: that 
whereas in the former case its immediate object is 
to land your victim on both shoulders, in the latter 



case it seeks so to daze him with the violent fall 
that he will easily succumb to your attack imme- 
diately ensuing. In the first instance it is applied 
as a substitute for the rear-throw previously 
described. Seizing your antagonist round the waist 
you lift him as high as possible ; then bending your 

Fig. 10 

body backwards you throw yourself to the mat, 
carrying your victim with you, but contriving to 
hurl him to the left over your own body, so that 



both his shoulders hit the mat beyond your own 
head ; you yourself avert a similar fate by making 
a half-bridge with your left side only on the mat, 
your right being above the mat, your head curved 
backwards and partially supported by your bent 
right leg (Fig. 1 1 ) . If the souplesse has been 

Fig. i i 

effected with sufficient force, then as a rule your 
antagonist will fall on both shoulders, but should 
he manage to fall on the bridge he may escape 
defeat. When the souplesse is applied from the 
front, it is a good plan to pin your opponent's 
arms to his side, and then hurl yourself backwards 



carrying him with you, as in the rear souplesse 
(Fig. 12). It is not impossible for an expert to fall 
to a full bridge as he throws his victim to the left 
and heavily on to his head. The souplesse may be 
usefully employed in the All-in style dealt with 

Fig. 12 

Waist-Hold: This corresponds more or less to 
the Graeco-Roman "coup de ceinture de devant". 
The most favourable opportunity for attempting 



the waist-hold is when your opponent is leaning 
backwards. Grasp him round the waist with both 
arms, draw him forcibly towards you, raise him 
from the ground, and swing him over your right or 

Fig. 13 

left hip to the mat, if necessary going down with 
him so as to render his bridge abortive. A useful 
defence against the waist-hold is to press your 



antagonist's head back with both hands under his 
chin (Figs. 13 and 14). 

Standing Arm-Lock and Throw: Grasp your 
opponent's right wrist with your left hand, and 

Fig. 14 

without relinquishing your grip turn your back 
towards him; then with your right arm encircle 
the upper part of his right arm and press it closely 
to the upper part of your own body, while with your 


right hand you grasp your own left wrist, thus 
effecting a painful lock on your victim's right arm. 
From this point it should not be difficult to click 
your adversary's right leg from the outside with 

Fig. 15 

your right leg, and bring him to the mat with 
yourself on top (Fig. 15). 

Another Standing Arm-Lock: An even more 
effective hold, with or without a throw, is as 



follows: With your left arm encircling your 
opponent's neck and your right hand gripping his 
left wrist, you turn as though about to attempt a 
cross-buttock with your left leg and hip. He may 
very well seek to frustrate your move by raising 

Fig. i 6 

your left elbow with his right arm and pushing it 
over, thus extricating his neck. You should then 
swiftly pass your left arm round his left arm above 
the elbow. Bend down his forearm with your 


right; pivot round on your left leg to face him 
lift your hand in the crook of his left elbow, and 
force back his left wrist with your right hand until 
his arm is bent at a painful angle, more or less in 
an approach to the prohibited hammer-lock. By 
pursuing this lock you could easily bring him to 
the mat. On the other hand, you could alterna- 

Fio. 17 

tively, by not quite facing him and keeping your 
left leg outside his left leg, throw him with the so- 
called "sweeping-loin" used in judo, although in 
Catch-as-Catch-Can you would naturally fall with 

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all your weight on top of your opponent in order 
to prevent his bridging. 

Jack-Knife Splits : An opening for this trick may 
be afforded when your opponent is behind you 
preparing to swing you to the mat with his arms 
clasped around your lower waist. Bend down 
suddenly and catch either of his feet with both 
hands; draw both foot and leg as far as possible 
between your legs, and holding his leg well up 
against your crutch fall back upon him, when he 
will be compelled to drop on his back to the mat. 
You should land heavily seated astride his chest, 
thus rendering a successful bridge almost impos- 
sible. The higher up you can trap his leg in your 
crutch the better (Figs. 16 and 17). 

Chapter IV 


The contents of the preceding chapter are far 
from being an exhaustive enumeration of standing 
holds and throws in the Catch-as-Catch-Can style, 
but with the space at my disposal I cannot safely 
extend the list if I am to give the reader an intelli- 
gent idea of the second and equally important 
branch of this art, viz., groundwork. 

The two principal defensive positions in ground- 
work are (i) a kneeling posture supported on the 
mat with the elbows or with the palms and knees; 
and (2) prone on the stomach. Of these the former 
is the more "scientific", since it is likely to offer 
more chances of recovering one's feet. The object 
of the prone posture is generally to oppose the 
weight of one's body to the attack of one's opponent. 

The "Nelsons": These may not unjustly be 
described as perhaps the most important of any 
single offensive method known to groundwork. 
Except in All-in wrestling, only the quarter-, 
half-, and three-quarter nelsons are permitted in 
matches. The full-nelson was barred a good many 
years ago, after its too violent application had 



broken the neck of a continental wrestler. The 
nelsons are rarely employed alone; more usually 
they are utilized in combination with a crutch 
or other hold on the victim's body or legs. The 
simple half-nelson is effected by the assailant 
against his kneeling opponent; if you are the 
assailant, and you are also kneeling on your 
right knee at his right side, you thread your 
right hand and arm under his right shoulder, and 
press down his head with your palm powerfully 
applied well up the back of his neck, near the crown, 
at the same time endeavouring to raise his shoulder 
(Fig. 18). A quarter-nelson can be applied by 
threading say your left hand under your opponent's 
near shoulder, which means that you are operating 
from his right side. Your right hand bears down 
upon the back of your opponent's neck, while 
with your left hand you grip your own right wrist. 
Let your right hand press heavily against your 
victim's neck as high up as possible, as in other 
forms of the nelson ; the help of your left hand will 
appreciably intensify the efficacy of this pressure 
and you may succeed in bringing your man over 
on to his shoulders. 

The three-quarter nelson is effected, if you are 
working on your opponent's right side, by thrust- 
ing your left hand and arm under his chest until 
your hand emerges above his left shoulder and 
passing over the edge of his neck on that side links 
up with your right hand which you have passed 
over the back of his neck near the crown to effect 



this contact. With the combined downward 
pressure of your right hand and the simultaneous 
upward lift of your left forearm and downward 
pressure of your left hand, which is aided by your 
right hand, you may succeed in forcing your victim 
over on to his shoulders. 

Fig. i 8 

Yet another nelson combination is contrived 
by threading your left hand — again if you are 
working on your adversary's right side — under 
your opponent's far shoulder, the left, and then 
imposing your right forearm or elbow upon the 
back of his neck, you link your right hand with 



your left (Fig. 19). This form of the nelson is, how- 
ever, less effective than the three-quarter nelson 
above described, and unless you are careful you 
may in your turn fall a victim to your adversary's 
parade, i.e. he may trap your left arm with his left 

Fig. 19 

and capture your left hand with his right, and roll 
you over his back on to your shoulders, with the 
help of a swift twist of his body. 

Although, as already stated, the full-nelson is 
barred in Catch-as-Catch-Can matches, it may be 
briefly described here, since I shall have occasion 
to refer to it in my subsequent remarks on the All- 



in style. As its designation implies, it is effected 
by threading say the left hand and arm under your 
opponent's left shoulder — as you attack from his 
left side — and your right hand and arm under his 
right shoulder, and linking both hands as high as 

Fig. 20 

possible over the back of his neck. Violent sus- 
tained downward pressure, assisted by the weight 
of the upper part of your body, will compel your 
opponent, unless possessed of abnormal strength 
of neck, to roll over on to his shoulders (Fig. 20). 
Half -Nelson and Crutch-Hold: This is one of the 



more familiar and frequently used combinations 
in groundwork. A half-nelson with your right 
hand from your adversary's right side would mean 
a crutch -hold with your left hand; co-ordinating 
the downward pressure of your half-nelson at one 
end of your victim with the lift of your crutch-hold 

Fig. 2i 

at his other end, you may succeed in bringing 
his shoulders to the mat. A useful parry to this 
attack is the spin described in detail in the earlier 
part of this chapter. 

Half-Nelson and Wrist-Hold: If the half-nelson 


has been applied with your left hand from his left 
side and your recumbent adversary tries to wrench 
that hand from the back of his neck with his left 
hand, you should grasp his left wrist with your 
right hand and bend his forearm downwards 

Fig. 22 

(Fig. 21). This is a form of lock, and if applied 
with sufficient force may easily compel your victim 
to go over on to his shoulders. On the other hand, 
if when you apply a half-nelson with your left 
hand he should try to rise, you may thrust your 
right arm under his chest and link it with your left 



over the back of his neck, striving forcibly to bend 
his head downwards and inwards, so as to compel 
your victim to relax on to his back (Fig. 22). 
The foregoing combination pertains to the cate- 
gory of really effective and promising tricks. A 
variation of this method, if you have applied a half- 

Fic. 23 

nelson with your left hand from his left side, is to 
capture his right wrist with your right hand and 
bend his elbow without actually forcing the fore- 
arm over his back, which would constitute a form 
of hammer-lock, another prohibited method in 
Catch-as-Catch-Can (Fig. 23). Nevertheless by 


thus depriving your victim of the use of his right 
arm as a support on that side, you increase the 
effectiveness of your attack. As you continue to 
turn him with your half- nelson, you should throw 
yourself over his body to the opposite side ; this leg 
movement communicates additional force to your 
effort to turn him over. If he resorts to the bridge, 
you should continue with the half-nelson and on 
the other side retain a powerful grip of his right 
wrist, which will prevent him from turning and in 
the end force him down upon both shoulders. There 
are several other combinations and auxiliary move- 
ments, with the help of your free hand, which lend 
your attack unusual strength and render it almost 
invincible, unless your antagonist is greatly your 
superior in strength and skill. 

Arm-Roll: An effective form of this manoeuvre is 
as follows : If you are kneeling on your opponent's 
left side, you thrust your right arm under his left 
arm and grasp his right wrist with your right hand, 
while with your left from behind you seize the 
upper part of his right arm. Then with your left 
shoulder pressing closely against his left side you 
strongly draw his captured arm towards yourself, 
and in this manner gradually force him over on 
to his shoulders. Another variant of this manoeuvre 
is to grip his right wrist with your left hand, in the 
first place, after thrusting it under his left arm, 
and the upper part of his right arm with your 
right arm ; you then insert your right shoulder as far 
as possible under his left shoulder, and co-ordinat- 



ing the outward push of your shoulder with the 
inward pull of your arms against his captured right 
arm, you endeavour to force him over on to both 
shoulders. Yet another variant is effected by pass- 
ing both your arms under your adversary's left 

Fio. 24 

arm, and then seizing his right arm above the 
elbow, drawing it powerfully inwards towards 
yourself (Fig. 24). If your opponent is clever 
enough to anticipate these movements, he may 
frustrate their object by extending his right leg to 


one side as a support, from which position he may 
attempt to rise and attack you in his turn. 

Half-Nelson and Leg-Hold: Sometimes called 
"Figure-Four Scissors on arm and Half-Nelson". 
This combination is more easily effected when you 
are operating on your prone opponent's right side. 
Thrusting his head suddenly downwards with your 
right palm, you apply a half-nelson with your left 
hand and arm from the outer side; as you force 
him over in your own direction you contrive with 
both your legs to trap his right — the inside — arm, 
which you push outwards to the fullest possible 
extent with the powerful pressure of your legs; then 
his left arm, locked with your half-nelson, can be 
drawn under your chest as you lie almost face 
downwards, and his wrist gripped with your right 
hand, from which point you may succeed in com- 
pelling both his shoulders to touch the mat. A 
useful variant of this manoeuvre is sometimes 
operated from your opponent's left side. If you can 
take him unawares, you catch his left wrist with 
your left hand as you kneel on your right knee 
facing in the same direction, and draw it tautly 
across your left knee ; you then apply a half-nelson 
with your right hand and arm from his right — the 
outer — side, and, having deprived him of the use 
of his left arm, you may succeed in forcing him 
over on to both shoulders. 

Shoulder-Roll with Arm-Hold: Kneeling in front of 
your prone opponent, you thread your right arm 
under his left shoulder and forcibly bend it up- 



wards; this manoeuvre in itself is rarely effective 
to score. It is therefore advisable to combine it with 
a hold on his other arm, the upper part of which 
you grip with your left hand and powerfully draw 
it downwards and inwards, in this manner en- 
deavouring to force your victim over on to both 

Fig. '2$ 

shoulders (Fig. 25). A second variant of the 
shoulder-roll with arm-hold is worked from his left 
side. You then thread your left arm under his left 
shoulder, and press it tightly against your chest to 
prevent its escape; with your free right hand you 



grasp his opposite arm across his back at the elbow 
and turn it downwards with the object of forcing 
your victim over on to both shoulders (Fig. 26). 
Yet another variant consists in first capturing your 
adversary's right elbow from underneath with your 
right hand extended across his back as you kneel 

Fig. 26 

at his left side, and then linking your right hand 
with your left. Your right elbow at the same time 
presses into his left side, and from this point you 
strive to draw him towards yourself and force him 
on to his shoulders (Fig. 27). A modified form of 


the hammer-lock may be effected by seizing the 
wrist of his left hand with your right hand, and his 
elbow with your left, as you kneel at his left side, 
and dragging his forearm to his spine until it forms 
a right angle. A bend beyond that point would 
expose your victim's arm to the danger of dis- 

Fig. 27 

location. You should then cross over to your 
opponent's right side and draw him towards your- 
self with a view to overturning him. Additional 
force is lent to this combination if you hold his left 
wrist at his back with your left hand and with 


your right apply a half-nelson from your own side. 
This junction of the half-nelson with partial 
hammer-lock is a bit risky, and in friendly bouts 
might advantageously be omitted. 

Rear- Throw in Groundwork: Having taken up a 
position at your opponent's left side, with your 

Fig. 28 

left knee on the mat and your right leg bent and 
between your opponent's legs, you grasp his left 
wrist or elbow with your left hand, and with your 
right arm encircle his body in the abdominal 
region (Fig. 28). Then with the encircling arm 









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you draw his right side powerfully upwards in your 
own direction, while with your left you push him 
in the reverse direction. This movement will bring 
you on to your own left shoulder with your oppo- 
nent on his back over you (Fig. 29). In order to 

Fig. 29 

prevent him from bridging, you should retain a 
strong hold of his body with your right arm and 
force his stomach downwards, while with your left 
hand you grip him in the region of his right 
shoulder and bend him down to the mat until 
both shoulders are touching it, 


Body Scissors and Half-Nelson: Say you are 
working from your prone opponent's left side. 
Apply a half-nelson to his far shoulder — the 
right — taking care, however, not to fall a victim to 
his parade, should be attempt to clutch your right 
arm, with which you are applying the half-nelson, 
and roll you over his back. If you manage to raise 
his right shoulder and draw him bodily towards 
you, swiftly trap his torso between your legs in the 
scissors-hold, already described, so that your right 
leg is over and your left leg under his body, while 
your feet are firmly interlocked beyond. In this 
position you find yourself resting at right angles to 
your victim, with your left elbow on the mat. 
Using the combined strength of your half-nelson 
and the scissors-hold, you may succeed in forcing 
both his shoulders to the ground. 

Methods of Breaking Bridge: The first method 
below described has often been demonstrated bv 


my friend H. Johnson, former amateur welter- 
weight champion of England in Catch-as-Catch- 
Can. It has served him in good stead in numerous 
instances. Say you are on your opponent's left side, 
you bend over him and take a simple hold on his 
right arm with your left hand, so that he cannot 
make use of it; then you cross your right over and 
grip his right shoulder, while with your right fore- 
arm you crush with all your force down upon his 
lower jaw and chin. There are very few necks 
extant that can withstand this sudden and painful 
onslaught. Another good plan is to throw your- 


self over your opponent almost face to face, but 
so that you can entwine his legs above the ankles 
with your own; if then you strongly and suddenly 
straighten out your own legs you can compel him 
to relax his grip of the mat with his soles, and 
flatten him out completely. 

Chapter V 


I approach this part of my subject with a good 
deal of misgiving. As a journalist and publicist 
of sorts, my knowledge of the laws and police 
regulations of Merrie England assures me that if 
any really serious attempt were made to justify 
the adjective in all its implications, police-court 
proceedings would speedily ensue and the attempt 
would be nipped in the bud. I am told that in the 
United States the licence in this respect is almost 
incredibly wider, and that the excesses ordinarily- 
witnessed in professional encounters under All-in 
rules are simply appalling, and foreign to British 
ideas of sportsmanship. I have no doubt that the 
All-in game in this country has resulted in some 
fundamental changes and much greater latitude 
as regards the use of hitherto prohibited throws, 
holds, and locks; but on the other hand, from an 
almost life-long experience of the Japanese art of 
judo, the influence of which is evident in certain 
phases of All-in wrestling, I am perfectly satisfied 
that if some of the methods of assault publicly 
exhibited to-day were seriously employed, the 
victim would not, as he frequently does, skip off 
the mat with the airy grace of a ballet-dancer, but 
would have to be removed to the nearest hospital 



on a stretcher. Nevertheless, in so far as the 
development of the cult of All-in wrestling may 
have led to a revival of genuine methods pre- 
viously barred as being too dangerous, such as 
the full-nelson, hammer-lock, kidney-squeeze, and 
some others, and the adoption of certain tricks 
from the judo repertoire, I am of opinion that the 
style is worthy of the student's attention. I am, of 
course, presupposing that any aspirant for mat 
honours who pays me the compliment of using the 
present publication as a preliminary textbook will 
not seek to explore and master the mysteries of All- 
in until he has gained a good working knowledge of 
orthodox Catch-as- Catch-Can, which undoubtedly 
furnishes the basis for this later development of the 
art, and the majority of whose methods are equally 
applicable to All-in. If the aspirant follows this 
advice, he will find himself in a better position to 
discriminate between what is genuine in the All-in 
repertoire and what is more in the nature of clever 
play-acting, designed to create a gladiatorial 
atmosphere, and to satisfy the popular thirst for 
"thrills". There is no denying that not a few of the 
All-in professionals are men with extensive wrest- 
ling knowledge, and that many of the holds and 
locks they have elaborated could be painfully 
applied in real earnest. Karl Pojello himself, the 
famous Lithuanian champion, and a renowned 
exponent of All-in methods, is a case in point. As 
far back as 19 12 he won the championship of 
Russia in the Graeco-Roman style at the then St. 


Petersburg. In the following year he became first 
Russian Olympic champion at Kiev and Inter- 
national Tournament champion at Breslau; and 
in 1 914 second Russian Olympic champion. Then 
after the war he won several Far Eastern cham- 
pionships, and studied the Japanese art of ju-jutsu, 
later turning the knowledge thus gained to excel- 
lent account when he entered the All-in ranks. 
After his arrival in the United States in 1923 he 
beat Johnny Meyers for the World's light heavy- 
weight title, and after his entry into the heavy- 
weight class he won the European championship 
from Froehner twice running, and later scored an 
easy victory over Oakley. The presence of men of 
such calibre in the All-in game should give one 
pause before venturing to treat the style as a 
negligible contribution to the art. 

Yet as a realist, a bone I have to pick with the 
pioneers responsible for the introduction of All-in 
methods is that they have not had the courage of 
their convictions, and have not ventured even to 
revive the good old strangleholds employed ages 
ago in ordinary Catch-as-Catch-Can, as taught to 
me personally in the dim fantastic pre-war period 
by the sturdy colliery mat-men of Nanaimo, B.C. 
This omission must appear all the more singular 
when we see the frequent use made of the so-called 
"rabbit" punch in All-in contests; for who among 
men of any wrestling experience generally and 
ju-jutsu knowledge in particular, is not aware that 
a blow seriously delivered with the outer edge of 


the hand at certain vulnerable spots in the body 
would be infinitely more dangerous to the victim's 
health than a hundred strangleholds, to which the 
victim can always surrender before any real 
damage has been done? Being myself of a less 
timid complexion, and convinced of the utility of 
strangleholds and of their perfectly legitimate 
character in either amateur or professional 
wrestling, I propose in the following pages to 
describe a few of the more effective methods of 
choking an opponent, as calculated perhaps tu 
serve the student in good stead in a genuine emer- 
gency. For the rest, I shall confine myself to 
descriptions of tricks which can be applied in such 
a way as not to inflict instantaneous injury on the 
victim, but which would prove ultimately danger- 
ous to him only if he should obstinately refuse to 
submit. In this context I am not gravely concerned 
to determine whether or no any or all of these 
methods are generally adopted in the All-in style; 
it is of far more importance that the student 
should be able to derive from this little textbook 
hints which may be of real service to him should 
he wish to take up All-in wrestling. I am not 
denying that certain All-in wrestlers may have 
acquired a superficial knowledge of esoteric 
ju-jutsu methods of assaulting vital spots in the 
body, and that they could employ them to the 
grave or even fatal injury of an opponent. I am 
simply contending that only the simulacrum of 
such tricks would be possible or permissible in this 


or any other civilized country for the good 
and sufficient reason that their reality would 
result in the death or permanent injury of their 

Under the rules not only of the famous Kodok- 
an of Tokyo, founded by the illustrious Professor 
Jigoro Kano, but of virtually every known "ryugi" 
or school of ju-jutsu in Japan, this esoteric branch 
of the art, usually styled ^atemi\ may be taught 
only to disciples who have attained a certain rank, 
and then only under a vow of strict secrecy. Seeing 
that I mvself have subscribed to that oath, it 
would be highly improper for me to divulge such 
"fc" or methods in their entiretv; but since in 
the course of time there have been inevitable 
leakages, as is evident from the All-in tactics I 
have witnessed or about which I have heard, I do 
not feel that I can rightly incur censure if I venture 
in these pages to make casual reference to a few 
of such methods of assault. For the rest, the 
reader who finds the repertoires of the Catch-as- 
Gatch-Can and Cumberland and Westmorland 
styles too restricted and perfunctory, and not 
sufficiently drastic, cannot do better than study 
my Art of Ju-jitsu, published uniform with the 
present volume some two years ago and now 
revised and republished under the title The Art 
of Judo. A combination of the knowledge derived 
from all these systems should be the best 
means of acquiring proficiency as an All-in 


It should be mentioned here that in the All-in 
style, virtually all the methods of Catch-as-Catch- 
Can and Graeco-Roman are equally applicable, 
because victory in the first-named style can be 
achieved, as in the second and third styles, by 
pinning your opponent's shoulders to the mat for 
a count of three. In addition, however, to the fore- 
going, you may win in the All-in style by com- 
pelling your adversary, through the pain of a hold 
or lock, to submit; hence the expression "sub- 
mission fall". Ostensibly, too, you may scoTe a 
victory by knocking your victim out for a count 
of ten, as in boxing. In the All-in style, however, 
the blow must not be given with the clenched fist, 
but with the outside edge of the hand or wrist. 
In view, then, of what has been said, the aspirant 
should study the present chapter in conjunction 
with Chapters III and IV relating respectively to 
Catch-as-Catch-Can standing holds and throws 
and groundwork. Nothing approaching an ex- 
haustive exposition of the subject is possible with 
the space at my disposal. Assuming that the 
student has already gained a practical working 
knowledge of Catch-as-Catch-Can, I feel justified 
in leaving something to his capacity for improvi- 
sation in the domain of holds and locks during 
actual contest; some acquaintance with judo will 
enable him to work out many others, according 
to circumstances. 

Seeing that in earlier chapters I have fully 
described the full-nelson, while pointing out that 


it may not to-day be employed in Catch-as-Catch- 
Can, it will not be necessary to go over the same 
ground again here, as regards that particular hold. 
In the case, too, of the modified or partial hammer- 
locks, also described elsewhere, the reader will 
understand that in a genuine All-in bout he would 
bend the trapped arm beyond a right-angle until 
real, not assumed agony, compelled his victim to 
concede a so-called * Submission" fall. In addition 
to the methods already described, the hammer- 
lock can be secured, if you are working on the 
ground from your opponent's right side, by grasp- 
ing his right wrist from the inside with your right 
hand, dragging it powerfully towards you and over 
his back; you should then swiftly change your 
position to the front of your opponent, and trap 
his head between your knees. Both hands can then 
be applied to his captured right arm, and if you 
gradually draw it upwards from the elbow, 
in the direction of his neck, you can compel 
him to surrender or run the risk of serious 

Strangleholds : There is a distinct family likeness 
between the strangleholds or chokelocks formerly 
employed in Catch-as-Catch-Can, but nowadays 
forbidden in both that style and All-in, and the 
judo methods classed as hadakajime or "strangling 
naked*', i.e. without making use of the loose 
jacket which the judo pupil ordinarily wears when 
bouting. Despite the official embargo, I append 
descriptions of a few good locks. If, then, engaged 


in groundwork, you might take advantage of an 
opportunity to encircle your opponent's throat 
from above with either your right or left arm. 
If you are using your right arm, you should, as 
in judo, keep the palm downwards, and cup it, 
so to speak, in the upward palm of your left hand, 
and from that point strive to drag back your 
victim's head as far as possible until submission is 
extorted. If from his right side you make use of 
your left arm to encircle your victim's throat, you 
should similarly grasp your downward palm in 
your right hand; the efficacy of this manoeuvre can 
be appreciably enhanced if you press the left side of 
your head against the right side of your victim's 
head, much as in judo. If the lock has been 
properly applied, your opponent must submit or 
go under. From your opponent's left side you can 
similarly combine a right-arm chokelock with 
pressure of the right side of your head against the 
left side of his. The same stranglehold can be 
perhaps even more effectively applied if your 
opponent has assumed a sitting posture, and you 
are behind him, just as in judo. In using this 
method you should so hold the encircling arm as 
to exert the maximum pressure with the sharp 
edge of your wrist against your victim's wind-pipe. 
Another variant, when your relative positions are 
the same as above described, is to pass your right 
arm round his throat and bring it back over his 
left shoulder until it seizes your own left upper 
arm, while with your left hand you press the back 


part of your victim's head. Then by combining a 
pulling motion of your right hand with the forward 
pressure of your left hand against the back of your 
victim's head, you can strangle him between your 

Kidney-Squeeze : I give below a description of two 
methods, the first at one time in common use among 
Catch-as-Catch-Can wrestlers, and the second 
the old ju-jutsu method which, however, would 
not in any case be admissible in Catch-as-Catch- 
Can because it involves a position on the part of 
the assailant which would be tantamount to self- 
defeat, i.e. supine on the back with both shoulders 
touching the ground. In the first method, you had 
to lie sideways, i.e. on one shoulder, right or left, 
as the case might be. In this posture one leg was 
passed underneath your victim's body and the 
other over it, in the region of the lower ribs, and 
your feet interlocked at the far side — virtually the 
scissors-hold described elsewhere — pressure against 
his trunk being effected by the inner sides of your 
knee-joints. In the ju-jutsu style, you lie supine on 
your back with your victim pulled down over you ; 
while you can also dig your thumbs into his 
wind-pipe as an additional means of gentle 
persuasion. In this position the squeeze is far more 
efficacious and painful than when applied from the 

Toe-Hold: A really nasty and potentially 
dangerous lock. It is applied when your opponent 
is lying face downward on the mat. Cross his feet, 


say the right over his left, above the ankle; then 
locking them against your chest, force him to bend 
his legs. Then reaching forward and downwards 
you clasp both hands against the crown of his head 
which you force backwards, in this manner in- 
flicting intolerable pain upon his spine and neck. 
This lock is illustrated elsewhere by Wood on 

Splits : If your opponent is on the mat, either 
bridging or on one shoulder, you may be able, if 
operating from his right side, to trap his right leg 
by encircling it with your right arm passed under 
his foot at the ankle and further held with your left 
arm and hand against his calf, from a position 
seated almost at right-angles. Hugging his cap- 
tured leg closely to your chest, or passing it round 
the back of your neck, you contrive to grip his 
left leg about midway between your feet and to 
press it outwards away from you to the utmost 
extent. The pain of this process may conceivably 
extort submission. 

Short-Arm Scissors: If your opponent is lying on 
his back, you seat yourself on his right side facing 
him. Trap his right arm with your right hand 
gripping it within the crook of his elbow while 
you wrap your right leg round and over his bent 
forearm, until your right foot touches your out- 
stretched left leg in the region of the knee. Not an 
easy hold from which to extricate oneself. 

Action on Joints Combined with Kicking: I have 
already expressed a lurking doubt as to the 


genuineness of some of these methods. As far, at 
any rate, as kicking is concerned, it seems hardly 
open to doubt that if the principles of judo atemi 
were actually observed, the victim would not be 
likely to survive the experience. I myself was 
initiated into this method of kicking by one 
Hagiwara, a teacher of the well-known Tenshin 
Shinyo-ryu, who kept a school at Yokohama, where 
I practised before joining the Kodokan in Tokyo. 
The method being based upon the assumption that 
the combatants would be barefooted, the kick is 
not delivered with the toes, but with the ball of 
the foot: the kick is given with a swift staccato 
movement, the foot being withdrawn like lightning 
after the kick. Constant practise on these lines 
renders the expert's soles so hard that he can kick 
not only human flesh but inanimate objects of 
wood or even stone with comparative impunity. 
This same teacher Hagiwara would often kick one 
of the supporting wooden pillars of his small 
wrestling hall so powerfully as to shake the entire 
house. Obviously no such result could be achieved 
by using the toes alone, and equally obviously, a 
human being kicked with such force, especially in 
a vital spot, would become totally uninterested in 
the subsequent proceedings. If, then, in an All-in 
bout you were to grip the fingers of your opponent's 
left hand with your right hand, twist his palm 
outwards, and then applying your left hand crush 
back his captured hand at the wrist with your 
thumbs meeting and pressing against the phalanges 


of his first and second finger, the bottom edges of 
both your overlapping hands resting on his inner 
wrist, you could force him to bend downwards, in 
which position you could conveniently deal him 
a violent kick with the ball of your right foot in 
the region of his heart. I have yet to be convinced 
that this manoeuvre has ever yet been genuinely 
carried out at any All-in tournament, for the good 
and sufficient reason that its inevitable sequel 
would be a charge of manslaughter against the 

Similarly as regards methods of hitting an 
opponent. The All-in men have evidently taken a 
hint from atemi and often employ the outer edge 
of the hand for this purpose. If, however, vital 
spots were seriously assaulted in this manner the 
consequences might easily be fatal. Among such 
spots are the jugular vein, a point just above the 
bridge of the nose, known as the uto, and another 
just above the upper lip styled jincku, to mention 
only a few out of many, some of which, however, 
are assaulted with the bunched points of the fingers 
or with the feet. A really heavy blow with the 
outer edge of the hand against the uto or jincku of 
a prostrate opponent would unquestionably render 
him insensible, if nothing worse, owing to their 
intimate connexion with important nerve centres. 
All-in wrestlers are also known to resort to pressure 
with the thumb against a point immediately under 
the lobe of the ear, styled the dokko, in atemi par- 
lance. Seeing that this method can be gradually 



applied, recourse thereto may be genuine; when 
she pain becomes unendurable the victim can 

Fig. 30 

A spectacular lift and dump, sometimes seen 
in Catch -as-Catch-Can and Graeco-Roman, is 
occasionally possible when your opponent is in a 


low position in front of you. Should you manage 
to grasp him round the waist from above, as he 
bends in the posture shown in Fig. 30, you lift him 

Fig. 31 

up bodily upside down until his torso assumes a 
position almost perpendicular to your own (Fig. 
31.). The impact of your chest as you thrust it 


forward will cause your victim to swing outwards, 
and seizing the opportunity you try to dash his 
shoulders down upon the mat. If he escapes defeat 
by bending his head, you raise him again and once 
more lower him with unceremonious violence until 
the desired end is accomplished. Seeing that injury 
to one's adversary may very easily result from this 
form of throw, it should possess a special appeal to 
All-in "fans"! 

I will complete this brief review of All-in methods 
with a description of a devastating but perfectly 
legitimate fall culled also from the judo repertoire, 
admirably adapted to All-in or even Catch-as- 
Gatch-Can methods, because it can be used 
against an unclad opponent. 

If an opening offers, snatch your adversary's 
right hand or wrist with your right hand from the 
outer side; i.e. with your thumb on the outside; 
then rapidly turn your back towards him and at 
the same time encircle your own neck from the 
rear with his captured arm. You should then be 
almost alongside your opponent. Next you pass 
your left arm round your victim's waist, or you 
may use it to reinforce the hold of your right hand 
on his right wrist as it passes over your right 
shoulder ; then hurl yourself sideways to the right 
carrying your victim with you so that he lands on 
the mat with terrific force underneath you and 
thus breaks your own fall. 

I can but repeat that there are quite a number 
of other throws, holds, and locks in the repertoires 


of both Catch-as-Catch-Can and Graeco-Roman 
styles available for the All-in system, and careful 
study of these pages, coupled with assiduous 
practice, should enable the aspirant to make a 

Chapter VI 



Earlier in these pages I have made no attempt 
to conceal my personal opinion that, in the wake 
of more recent developments in the art of wrestling, 
the aspirant for honours on the mat can do better 
than to specialize in the Cumberland and West- 
morland style, although admittedly, the wider one's 
range of knowledge and experience the better, and 
if one has the necessary time at one's disposal, 
benefit may accrue from familiarity with the main 
principles and "chips" of this particular style. 
Owing, however, to my long association with the 
Japanese art of judo, nowadays generally ad- 
mitted to be the most comprehensive and practical 
of all known systems of defence and attack, I 
cannot help regarding with disfavour any style 
which deprives the performer of the use of any of 
his limbs. Thus, while the supporter of the Cum- 
berland and Westmorland style certainly has a case 
when he scoffs at the Graeco-Roman system for 
its prohibition of tripping, he himself is no less 
illogical for favouring a school which forbids free 
use of the arms. If, moreover, you are contemplating 
the acquisition of an art likely to be of use in a real 
emergency, it would surely be a mistake to accus- 

8 4 


torn yourself to a style in which the arms play a 
very secondary part in achieving victory, I do not, 
of course, deny that even in the Cumberland and 
Westmorland style the arms are of material service 
as auxiliaries, but compared with the role assigned 
to those limbs in the Catch-as-Catch-Can and 
Graeco-Roman styles, not to mention judo, their 
share in the composition of all tricks in the reper- 
toire of the first-named is merely negligible. With 
the free use of the arms permitted in Catch-as- 
Catch-Can, virtually any throw' or hold known to 
Cumberland and Westmorland can be even more 
effectively applied in the former style, the efficacy 
of which is still further enhanced by the variety of 
methods, alike from the standing position and on 
the ground, rendered available by the use of arms 
and legs in combination and independently. A 
cursory review of what has been said about the 
Catch-as-Catch-Can style will convince the student 
that a number of the best-known tricks of Cum- 
berland and Westmorland already form an 
integral part of the formers repertoire. The 
"cross-buttock", "hank", "back-heel" and "flying- 
mare" are cases in point, and I shall not, therefore, 
recapitulate what I have written about those 
throws in Chapter III, contenting myself with 
pointing out the modifications of method neces- 
sitated by the Cumberland and Westmorland 

Taking-Hold: The wrestlers take their stand chest 
to chest; each places his chin on his opponent's 



right shoulder, and uses an arm-grip in which the 
left arm is placed above the other's right, and the 
right arm below the other's left arm. The hands 
are linked behind each other's back by hooking, 

Fig. 32 

not clasping the fingers together, with the back of 
the right hand digging into the back of one's 
antagonist (Fig. 32.). Under the rules governing 
this form of wrestling, should one of the contestants 
lose his hold, even though not thrown, while his 


adversary retains his, he shall forfeit that throw. 
If, too, either party touches the ground with one 
knee or any other part of the body, even though 
he still retains his hold, he shall be declared the 
loser. If both fall to the ground the first down or 
under the other is the loser. Should they fall side 
by side or in any manner leaving the umpire in 
doubt as to which of the two was first on the 
ground, the bout is styled a "dog-fall" and must 
be wrestled over again. 

The Hank: For a description of this throw see 
Chapter III. Except as regards the arm-hold, the 
fundamental principles are precisely the same. 
The accompanying figure will give a good idea of 
the method of its application. Here the assailant 
has turned his left side towards his opponent, and 
has used his left leg to click his opponent's right leg 
below the calf. On the other hand, had he turned 
his right side towards his opponent, he would have 
employed his right leg to click his opponent's left 
leg. As in Catch-as-Catch-Can you contrive to fall 
as heavily as possible on top of your victim 

(Fig. 33-) • 

Back-Heeling in the Cumberland and Westmor- 
land style is usually applied to your opponent's 
slightly advanced right leg with your own left, 
because in this position you enjoy the advantage 
of the lift with your right arm under your oppo- 
nent's left arm-pit (Fig. 34.). An expert wrestler 
might even find an opening for back-heeling the 
other's right leg with his own right leg, or perhaps 



hooking it from the back of the knee downwards 
much in the fashion of the judo throw styled 
o-soto-otoshi. The back-heel is a useful defence 

Fio. 33 

measure when you find yourself on the point of 
being lifted from the ground. I am aware that 
most Cumberland and Westmorland authorities 


advise back-heeling only with the left leg, but any 
wrestler at all experienced in judo will join issue 
with this fiat, and advocate the inclusion of your 
right with the same object. 



^\. ~^z I 

/ ff$[ 



M <1\ I 


^^F ^^BrCiu*^^^ 

Fio. 34 

Cross-Buttocking in Cumberland and Westmor- 
land style is usually effected with the left leg 
(Fig. 35.)- A slackening of the grip generally pre- 



cedes the turn of the body ; but at the moment of 
the actual attack the arms should be tightened 
round your opponent's neck and shoulders to 

Fig. 35 

operate in the act of throwing. With your left side 
turned towards your opponent, you cross both his 
legs with your left leg, simultaneously twisting him 
forcibly forward, and bring him to the ground. 


If again I may be allowed to offer a hint, on the 
strength of my knowledge of judo, I would say 
that the power of your cross-buttock might on 
occasion be increased by sweeping your opponent's 

Fig. 36 

left leg from the outside with your thigh, in the 
fashion of haraigoshi or "Sweeping Loin". 

Outside and Inside Clicks : These are useful strokes 
on the side of the lighter man. The most opportune 


moment for application of the outside click is when 
your taller and stronger adversary has raised you 
from the ground. The click is accomplished, as in 
the orthodox back-heel, with your left leg. It is 
indeed suggestive of the back-heel, but is more in 
the nature of a defensive measure, whereas the 
back-heel is essentially offensive. To apply the 
inside click, you should jerk your opponent 
suddenly forward, as you face him squarely. Then 
when he tries to recover his balance by stepping 
back, you apply the inside click to his retreating 
leg with all possible force, and the added weight 
of your body (Fig. 36.). Constant practice is 
essential to mastery of this stroke. 

The Hype: This is accomplished by securing a 
tight grip, stepping forward with the right leg, 
raising your opponent, carrying him slightly to 
the left with a circular movement, and at the same 
time striking the inside of his left leg with your 
right knee. If the manoeuvre has been properly 
effected, you should throw your victim clean on 
to his back (Fig. 37.). 

The Buttock: More difficult of accomplishment 
than the cross-buttock. Turn your left side round 
in such wise as to get your back under your 
opponent's stomach, and hurl him bodily over to 
the ground. Experts aver that this particular throw 
is rarely attempted by proficient wrestlers against 
opponents of equal calibre, but it is a spectacular 
coup against an inferior adversary. 

Undoubtedly the Cumberland and Westmor- 


land style of wrestling is seen to best advantage 
amid its natural surroundings of the picturesque 
North Country, and love of the game has helped 
to breed and develop many magnificent specimens 


u> _^< V 



Fio. 37 

of muscular British manhood. On the other hand, 
the style has failed to make a widespread popular 
appeal in any respect comparable to Catch-as- 


Catch-Can or even Graeco-Roman, let alone All-in, 
which has latterly become something of a craze. 
The foregoing sketch of the better-known throws 
makes no pretence to being comprehensive or 
exhaustive; it is rather in the nature of a supple- 
ment to what has gone before, to enable the reader 
to form his own opinion on the merits of the 
several styles enumerated.